Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Max password sharing crackdown might start sooner than you thought

Published Mar 4th, 2024 10:20AM EST
True Detective: Night Country on Max
Image: WarnerMedia

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Netflix proved that cracking down on password sharing can be quite lucrative. Despite the online protests from people threatening to cancel their subscriptions after the anti-password-sharing measures were implemented, Netflix actually got millions of new subscribers in the second half of 2023. It’s no wonder Disney was quick to announce it also plans to ban Disney Plus and Hulu password sharing

Even more streamers are also considering imposing similar rules, with a report claiming that Max wants to start its password sharing crackdown later this year.

The detail comes from Bloomberg’s Screentime newsletter. The crackdown on password sharing for Max is part of David Zaslav’s strategy to make try to more money from Max.

Zaslav reportedly wants to increase the profitability of Max while also boosting the subscriber count. Warner Bros. Discovery is looking at other moves, in addition to blocking password sharing. 

First, Max will expand to new markets. The list reportedly includes France, Latin America, and Australia. It’ll happen in the coming 18 months, according to the report. The password sharing crackdown will supposedly then begin later this year, rolling out throughout 2025.

It’s unclear what Max will do to fight password sharing, and Max hasn’t officially announced anything. It’s likely it’ll copy Netflix’s moves, which Disney will also implement for Disney Plus and Hulu. 

Kate Winslet in The Regime.
Kate Winslet in The Regime, streaming on Max. Image source: HBO

On that note, Disney announced plans to stop password sharing on both streaming products. It updated the terms of service to reflect that. However, the actual software features that will ban password sharing haven’t yet been implemented. Max will probably also need time to deploy its own system to ban password sharing. 

Netflix lets subscribers add more people to their accounts for a fee. They can continue to share the password and enjoy their own stripped-down accounts. That’s also something Disney Plus, Hulu, and Max will have to offer. The point is to encourage people to pay for access by adding extra members or creating brand-new accounts.

As it is now, you can still share your Netflix password outside the household with no real consequence. It’ll be more annoying to watch content uninterrupted. The extra access will require account verifications that only the owner can perform.

The report also highlights Zaslav’s performance so far with Max streaming. In 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery’s direct-to-consumer business registered a profit of $103 million and 52 million US subscribers. Comparatively, in 2017, HBO had 54 million US subscribers and reported a $2.2 billion profit.

That is, Max is profitable. Zaslav cust marketing costs and licensed shows to Netflix to help with the effort. These are efforts that will probably continue. But that $103 million figure isn’t enough for shareholders and the company as a whole. It included Netflix streaming fees and fees from pay-TV operators.

Warner Bros. Discovery streaming chief JB Perette told Bloomberg that Max is ahead of expectations. The number of domestic subscribers shrank because Max is adding customers while HBO is losing customers who signed up via cable. But Max had erased losses and reduced churn while delivering hit shows. You can read the newsletter in full at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.